# Numerator & Denominator: Definition & Examples

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• 0:00 Numerator & Denominator
• 0:59 What Do They Represent?
• 1:57 Pizza Example
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Monica Wemyss
Explore two parts of a fraction called the numerator and denominator. Discover what these two numbers represent as you further your understanding of fractions.

## Numerator and Denominator

The first time you saw a fraction, you probably noticed that there were two numbers involved: a top number and a bottom number. You may have wondered what these numbers are and what they represent. These two numbers are called a numerator and a denominator, and they both represent different things. The simplest way to define a numerator and a denominator is the following:

• Numerator: the top number of a fraction
• Denominator: the bottom number of a fraction

Consider these examples.

1. The fraction 4/7 has a top number 4 and a bottom number 7. Therefore, the numerator is 4, and the denominator is 7.
2. The fraction 10/3 has a top number 10 and a bottom number 3. Thus, the numerator is 10, and the denominator is 3.

## What Do the Numerator and Denominator Represent?

It's time to explore what the numerator and the denominator represent in a fraction. One way dictionary.com defines a fraction is as 'a part as distinct from the whole of anything; portion or section.' In other words, a fraction represents a part of a whole. In a fraction, the denominator represents the number of equal parts in a whole, and the numerator represents how many parts are being considered.

You can think of a fraction as p/q is as p parts, which is the numerator of a whole object, which is divided into q parts of equal size, which is the denominator. For example, in the fraction 5/9, the numerator is 5 and the denominator is 9, so the fraction 5/9 means 5 parts of a whole object, which is divided into 9 parts of equal size.

## Pizza Example

For a more concrete example, imagine you are at a get-together with a couple of your friends. You decide to order a pizza and, when it is delivered, it has already been cut into 8 equal slices.

Assume your friend takes 3 slices of this pizza, and you want to determine what the numerator and the denominator would be in the fraction representing those 3 slices. In this case, the slices are the parts, and the pizza is the whole. You see that 8 pieces makes up the whole pizza, so this would be the denominator, which is the number of equal parts in the whole. Since your friend took 3 slices, you are considering 3 parts of the whole, so 3 would be the numerator. Thus, you determine that you would represent 3 slices of this pizza using the fraction 3/8. That is, 3 slices of the pizza represent 3/8 of the pizza.

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